Monday, September 1, 2014

Hop Around the World

Hello all, and welcome to September! Hard to believe, isn't it? Angela at soscrappy has tagged me to participate in the Around the World blog hop, and today is my day to post. (Thanks Angela!) Also up today are Shasta and Katie. For those of you who are new here, I'm Mari (rhymes with sorry, in case you're wondering) and I'm a college professor whose main distraction is quilting. I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful state of Wisconsin with the hubster, who does not sew but understands my need to do so. Our three grown children have flown the coop, so now I have a sewing room to keep all my thready mess. Come on in and let's chat!

What am I working on?

Well, I've just finished two big projects, so now it's time to move on and finish up this quilt:

This is a scrappy Ocean Waves variation from this book by Joan Ford:

This is a pretty nice book if you're looking for a new project. Her version of the quilt is made with reds, but mine is made in blues since I had so many. I've been making it a little at a time, leader and ender style, for several months. I've finally gotten to the point where all the little units are made and now need to be put together.

Yes, all of those units come together to make one block. The directions call for using one white on white, but mine are also scrappy, mainly because I didn't want to buy anything new for this project. I could probably put the blocks together as leaders and enders too, but I have to pay too much attention to the orientation of the pieces to do that.

And here's the first completed block! Only 47 more to go.

I'm also working on a long-term project to make the Loyal Union Sampler, following along with the crew at Patched Works. Calling it a "long-term project" makes me feel better about being hopelessly behind. Here's the one block I made in the last couple of days:

Someday this will be a very pretty finished quilt. Someday a long time from now. . .

Of course, I also have two Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts in progress, one using half-square triangles

and the other with Odd Fellow's Chain blocks

These will be finished early next year, after the close of this year's challenge. I'm actually hoping to do a lot of work on them over Christmas break.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmmm, this is a hard one, mostly because I don't want to label myself. I'm not modern or traditional, but some of both, and I like all kinds of different patterns and fabrics, mainly depending on my mood. I love traditional blocks and I use mainly traditional methods. To me, that means that I always go back to the way my grandmother and earliest teachers taught me to do things when I was a child. Hand basting, pinning intersections whenever necessary, measuring and squaring pieces before they're put together, and figuring out how to conserve as much fabric as possible. That's right, we rock it really old school around here. Sometimes it also means drafting blocks by hand, on graph paper, and drawing layouts the same way. But I also love many modern fabrics and most frequently opt for traditional blocks in "happy" fabrics.

Gratuitous quilt picture from 2013.

Why do I create what I do?

I love art. That sounds pretentious, I know, but painting makes me cry and sculpture takes my breath away. I also love fabric and all kinds of textiles. I can't draw, paint, or sculpt, but I can sew, so I use that to put together color and pattern into something pleasing, not to mention useful. Nothing I do approaches Monet or Van Gogh, but could they wrap themselves in their artwork on cold nights? Well, maybe. Those guys were pretty odd. But canvas can't be all that cozy.

Also, I spend so much of my time with books and papers and such that I often need to do something with my hands. It calms my brain and relaxes me. When I'm working on an especially tricky idea in another part of my life, it helps a lot to use another part of my brain to piece and quilt. And let's just admit that fabric feels nice. It's cozy and colorful, and who doesn't find that comforting?

How does my creative process work?

I wish I could say I had some grand quilting trajectory that I always follow, but usually it either starts with a pattern I want to make or a piece of fabric that keeps saying "pick me, pick me!" I have a list (on a spreadsheet. . .I know) of patterns that I want to make and things that I have in progress. For example, Burgoyne Surrounded has been on my list for a very long time, so now I'm finally going to make it. I purchased a long length of white on white yardage this week (7 yards!) and plan to use that with my solid scraps to make up a lovely scrappy Burgoyne Surrounded quilt. See what I mean about modern AND traditional?

Won't that be striking? There are a lot of pieces, but I have a lot of scraps. I started cutting this past weekend and will start sewing this week.

As I said, sometimes the fabric talks to me. Right now, this one is yelling the loudest:

This is a strip set from my local quilt shop. I don't trust the precuts from the manufacturers any more, but the ones from the shop are all the right size. I don't know what this will be yet, but I'll start looking for a pattern to use with it. I get bored easily, so I need to have about three projects going at once. I want to start whatever this will become as soon as I'm done with the blue and white Ocean Waves. But you know I'll probably decide on a pattern tomorrow and start it right away without finishing the blue and white quilt first, right?

So, that's usually the process. Of course, after I choose the pattern and the fabric, I obsess over every aspect of the project until long after it's finished. And sometimes I find things I really want to make, either online or in a catalog, or sometimes through quilt shop projects, and somehow they worm their way into my projects list. It happens. I mostly just go with it. This is supposed to be fun, and what fun are deadlines, rules, and schedules?

So that's it! As a part of the blog hop, I'm tagging Bernie at Needle & Foot and Julie at Me and My Quilts for next week. I can tag another person too, so if you'd like to be included, either leave me a comment or drop me an email. And everyone have a really good week all around!

Linking to Linky Tuesday, WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social. Pop on over!


scraphappy said...

What a great post about the quilting process. So many half square triangles. You should definitely add the word patient to your description! Love your colors. They make me happy.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Excellent post! I would be delighted to participate ... Thanks, Mari!

Shasta Matova said...

I am here from Angela from soscrappy's post. I really enjoyed getting to know you and looking at all of your beautiful quilts. I too wrote a post. I probably should have shown more of the quilts I am currently working on, but I am trying to focus on just one, and showing the ones waiting in the wings would have ruined my concentration! All your quilts you showed have lots of little pieces, so I would add persistent, skillful and patient to your list of attributes!

Wendy said...

I love your RSC blocks, so pretty. It seems there are quite a few quilters out there resisting being put into either traditional or modern category, good for you, who needs labels?

Kate said...

I came over from Soscrappy as well. You have some fun projects going. Your Rainbow Scrap Projects are gorgeous.

momiji said...

As one mild-mannered academic to another, I know just what you mean about needing an alternative to books and paper! Thanks for sharing your creative process. Your new blocks look great--the succession of Odd Fellow's chain blocks is particularly dramatic.

Cindy said...

Lots of great projects! Thanks for sharing.

Rachel said...

Oh my goodness, I *love* all your Odd Fellow's blocks together! That is going to be one awesome quilt!

Lorna McMahon said...

Such a great post, Mari! I love all of your WIP's and look forward to seeing your progress.